Our implant dentist, Dr Harpal Chana, explains how and why you should do this.
Dental implant placements are becoming more common, yet it is still a very sophisticated procedure that requires years of extra training before a dentist is allowed to carry out this procedure.
It is widely considered to be the most effective way of replacing a missing tooth, or teeth, and can provide patients with many years of service, providing a strong and secure artificial tooth.
Despite the above, it is important that our Teddington patients are aware that they will also need to take responsibility for looking after the new implant once it has been placed. Naturally, there will also be follow up appointments at our Elmfield House Dental Practice to make sure that all is well, but everyday responsibility will fall to the implant patient themselves.
Cleaning a new implant
Once your new implant is in place, it is immediately at risk. The area of placement is especially vulnerable and it is very important that you keep it clean. You will not be able to brush the area at this stage and you will need to clean it with a warm (but not hot) saline solution tipped over the area of the implant. You will need to do this a number of times a day for a while. Once the area has healed sufficiently, a soft toothbrush may be gently used. You will also need to gradually introduce dental floss for the reasons explained below.
Why do you need to clean an implant?
There may be some who believe that cleaning a new implant is unnecessary as it is made from an artificial material that can’t suffer from tooth decay and other common dental problems. With over 20 years of dental implant experience, it is very clear that this is not the case!
Although the implant itself won’t suffer if you don’t clean the area around it, there are two major problems that are likely to arise, both of which will quite possibly lead to the failure of the implant.
Periodontitis and peri-implantitis are closely related gum disease problems. Both of these are likely to affect the soft tissue surrounding the implant, causing inflammation and discomfort. More importantly though, they will eventually lead to the supporting bone structure becoming damaged by the bacteria involved. As this causes the bone to deteriorate, the implant will become loose and potentially may even cause the implant to fail.
Whilst there is a particular risk of this problem, and other infections, occurring soon after the implant placement, gum disease problems can occur at any time, with the same results. Although the initial aftercare may seem time consuming, it is well worth it to ensure that your implant stays healthy. Longer term dental implant care is much more straightforward and you can do this in the same way that you do for your natural teeth. Good quality brushing, using dental floss or alternative inter-dental cleaning method, supported by scheduled, thorough cleans by our Teddington hygienist, should be sufficient to ensure that your implant achieves the expected lifespan.
We are always happy to answer any questions that you may have about dental implants, and a consultation can be arranged by calling the Elmfield House Dental Practice on 020 8614 1995.
Dr Harpal Singh Chana is an experienced implant dentist and multi-disciplinary specialist at our Teddington practice (GDC 64115).